Iceman’ Burling soaks up the accolades
America’s Cup Match, presented by Louis Vuitton
Race 9: Emirates Team New Zealand bt Oracle Team USA by 0:55
Oracle Team USA entered the box for the pre-start on port tack. New Zealand entered ten seconds later on starboard. Oracle drove deep to the back corner and New Zealand turned to follow. Then the Kiwis turned back first to lead back towards the line. Both boats were right on the line and Oracle were to windward to sail a little faster and a little more off the wind, and led into Mark 1 by three seconds.
Emirates gybed first and early, not too close to the boundary, and Oracle waited — too long. New Zealand worked their way up ahead of Oracle and sailed low and fast.
Oracle slowed to 13 knots in a wet, sticky extra gybe around the bottom mark and put both hulls in the water. Kiwis were going at faster than 20 knots. There was a two-knot speed difference upwind in New Zealand’s favour. New Zealand had a terrible tack 500 metres from the windward mark and certainly the crowd stopped breathing. That speed difference disappeared as New Zealand rounded going 26 knots and led by more than 200 metres and by 26 seconds.
Oracle took the left side downwind and New Zealand put on a loose cover. They had such a lead that they could think more about getting in a good position. The Kiwi main trimmer, Glenn Ashby, has been providing the horsepower in this light air. He was a strong force on this young team. The Kiwis extended their lead to 34 seconds going on to leg five.
On leg five, Team USA picked up some seconds and Team New Zealand spent some of their lead to round just 24 seconds ahead, but they did an excellent mark rounding and just took off on the final downwind leg with a 300-metre lead.
Emirates Team New Zealand sailed another perfect match race once again. They got ahead and stayed between their opponents and the next mark throughout the race.
The Kiwis just cruised downwind and make it through gate number six.
The last leg to the finish was like a winner’s lap in Formula One. The “Auld Mug” will be going back Down Under with an unclear future.
Meanwhile, The champagne sprayed in celebration. “We are absolutely on top of the world,” said Peter Burling, at 26 the youngest helmsman to win the America’s Cup.
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